When Public Universities Have More “Freedom”

Deregulation, a strategy often pushed by public universities to allow them to raise more money, and have more control than they enjoy under traditional governance, under which the state is in charge, is supposed to allow universities to raise necessary funds through tuition. Universities argue these are the funds for operation they need to perform effectively in the absence of money from the state, but it turns out it doesn’t really work.

According to a study of deregulation efforts in several states released by Policy Matters Ohio:

Our analysis suggests that deregulation does not increase college completion, make college affordable, or close the higher education gap. In many cases, deregulated states seem to perform worse than the nation on many indicators of accessible and affordable higher education.

Deregulation does, of course, allow state universities to raise money, because they have freedom from financial rules laid down by the state in order to keep tuition low, but it doesn’t appear that freedom to raise funds actually helps the universities do a better job.

Policy Matters Ohio performed this study in order to evaluate the likely outcome of prosed deregulation plans in the state of Ohio. It’s worth looking at worth looking at the study in order to evaluate implemented university deregulation plans in Colorado, Virginia, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Minnesota.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer